Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mouse and Keyboard Without Boundaries

At office, I used to work on a laptop until my request for a Desktop was approved recently. The day I received my desktop I felt my desk was a little cluttered with two monitors, a CPU, a docking pad for laptop, two mice, two keyboards and all the cables that are part of the package. Not to mention those sticky notes, notepads and printouts of random documents haphazardly scattered around. In order to make some room on my desk, I decided to figure out a way to control both my machines with a single mouse and keyboard. All I want is an application or a tool that lets me navigate from one computer from another, in an intuitive way, as we do in the case where multiple monitors are connected to the same machine.

On doing a simple Google search, I came across Synergy. Synergy is a simple yet great tool, which does the job perfectly. Using a single pair of mouse and keyboard, multiple computers can be controlled over the network. The best part is there is no restriction on the operating system of your computers, it can support connecting a Mac with a PC or a Linux box. All it requires is to install their application on all the machines you want to operate with your mouse and keyboard and configure the computer to which they are connected as Server, and all others as clients. I could intimate the software tool by letting it know how my computers are positioned. And yes, you can copy text from your Windows and paste it in your Mac. For me this is definitely better than the j5 Create's Wormhole Switch, I do not have to shell out money as this is an open source software. 

Despite Synergy being free to use I was not completely satisfied with the way it was working on Windows machines. Whenever there was a User Access Control pop-up on the Client Windows machine, I had trouble transferring the control to Client machine. And, on hitting 'Ctrl + L' I was expecting Synergy to lock all the machines, but only the server gets locked. And, I could not intuitively drag and drop files between computers sharing the resources. 

Incidentally about the same time I was frantically searching for a good solution for this, Truong Do - a software developer at Microsoft - unveiled the project Mouse Without Borders he worked during his spare time. It takes care of all the issues I was complaining while using Synergy. I could drag and drop files between my computers, and it works exactly the way I want. Although Synergy could connect far more number of computers using a single pair of mouse and keyboard, Mouse Without Borders can support only four computer at the maximum. I do not have any complaints on this, since there is no way I can get one more extra computer for what I do at office. However, Synergy is the best option if you have to work on multiple operating systems. 


  1. Hi Vee;

    Been a long time..and am back...after shifting for a while to WP!

    I've missed a lot of things...the culprit? My terrible lappy keyboard...:(

    I wish I am more techie to understand your post Vee!

    Have a nice day...am missing you in my space...:)

  2. You have a great articles. Thanks for sharing. And dont forget to visit me back at here

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